Preventing Unsafe Injection Practices

Technical Bulletin from Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health

Las Vegas - September 20, 2018

Current Situation:
The Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) would like to provide education on the use of needles, syringes and fingerstick devices. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), needles, syringes, and fingerstick devices are to be used per the manufacturer’s instructions that notes they are for single-use only. The reuse of these devices is prohibited as they can lead to the spread of bloodborne pathogens such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. When using fingerstick devices, changing the lancet does not make the pen portion of the fingerstick device reusable even if the pen is disinfected between uses. This concept is the same for changing the needle on a syringe. These devices can retain small portions of blood unseen by the naked eye and therefore have the potential to spread disease if reused. The shared use of these devices is one of the common root causes of exposure and infections in healthcare settings.

The same practice should be used when utilizing single-dose medication vials. A single-dose/single-use vial is a vial of liquid medication intended for parenteral administration (injection or infusion) that is meant for use in a single patient for a single case/procedure/injection. Single-dose or single-use vials are labeled as such by the manufacturer and typically lack an antimicrobial preservative. According to CDC, even if a single-dose/single-use vial appears to contain multiple doses or contains more medication that is needed for a single patient, that vial should not be used for more than one patient nor stored for future use on the same patient. If the single-dose or single-use vial will be entered more than once for a single patient as part of a single procedure, it should be with a new needle and new syringe, and the vial must be discarded at the end of the procedure and not stored for future use.

To better assist your facility’s efforts toward education of safe injection practices and the prevention of exposing patients and healthcare personnel to any avoidable risks, the Office of Public Health Informatics and Epidemiology offers a free online training for 0.5 CEUs (Click here, or visit our HAI training and education webpage and click on “Safe Injection Practices Training” under the “Trainings” section)

  • Recommendations on the use of needles and intravenous delivery systems
  • Common safety breaches
  • Unsafe injection practices and disease transmission
  • Dangerous misconceptions
  • Single-use/single-dose vs. multi-use/multi-dose

Educational Resources:
Below is a link for the One and Only Campaign. This website educates healthcare workers and others on proper use of syringes, needles, medication vials, glucometers, and fingerstick devices.
If additional assistance is needed contact the local or state health departments and/or infection control experts. For additional information, contact the HAI coordinator at or by phone at 702-486-3568.



Technical Bulletin: Preventing Unsafe Injection Practices


Kimisha Causey
Healthcare Associated Infections coordinator